Tuesday, July 23, 2024

October is the month for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit Oahu

Plan your visit to Oahu soon! Our quick queer travel guide for Oahu includes details about October LGBTQ+ events, such as Gay Bowl XXII Honolulu 2022, Honolulu Pride, and Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival. Vacationer also provides recommendations on bars, restaurants, and incredible cultural sites to visit before you can leave the island!

As the crisp cool air of autumn falls over the U.S. mainland over the next month or two, Oahu is just heating up with fun things to do and see, especially for LGBTQ+ travelers and tourists looking for immersive cultural experiences that include the island’s culture, food, and historic landmarks.

Consider planning a trip now during the island’s shoulder season, when it becomes slightly less crowded now that kids are back in school (emphasis on slightly). So, with help from the Oahu Visitor Bureau, we provide a list of recommendations on where to stay, things to do and see, and further delve into what makes the island unique: its indigenous māhū culture, the respect for ʻāina (land), and the people, including its vibrant LGBTQ+ community.

Oahu (Photo Credit: Peter Thomas on Unsplash)
Oahu | Photo: Peter Thomas / Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Events

Gay Bowl XXII Honolulu 2022 (October 6-9, 2022)
The National Gay Flag Football League Gay Bowl XXII travels to Honolulu for its 2022 slate of games. All are welcome to watch and cheer on their favorite teams, including several local teams representing the Hawaii Gay Flag Football League. While competitive, the event also aims to educate, provide inclusivity, and encourage communication between all members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, bringing together teams and leagues from across the U.S. 

For more information, visit NGFFL.org.

Honolulu Pride Parade and Festival (October 15, 2022)
Hawaii’s largest LGBTQIA2S+ community event is a daylong celebration highlighted by the Honolulu Pride Parade – winding through Waikīkī from Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park to Kapi‘olani Park – and the Honolulu Pride Festival, which promises live music, inspirational speeches, and fun activities. 

For more information, visit HawaiiLGBTLegacyFoundation.com.

Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival (October 20-23, 2022)
The Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, one of the longest-running and most respected queer film festivals in the U.S., returns to an in-person format in celebration of its 33rd anniversary. The mission of the festival is to use the power of film to raise awareness as well as to engage, energize and instill a sense of pride and respect in Hawaii’s thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and māhū community. The festival is presented annually by the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a self-supporting nonprofit organization created in honor of Hawaii LGBTQIA2S+ pioneer Adam Baran. 

For more information, visit HGLCF.org.

Where to Stay 

Kaimana Beach Hotel
A perfect setting, Kaimana Beach Hotel is where the iconic Diamond Head (Le’ahi) and the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean meet. Originally named Sans Souci (“without cares”), Kaimana Beach is the perfect place to kick back and think of nothing other than your next cocktail. 

White Sands Hotel
White Sands Hotel, a boutique hotel, brings the vintage flavor and culture of the 70s into the modern era with its design and relaxing bamboo swing poolside bar and restaurant Heyday. 

LGBTQ+-Friendly Bars and Restaurants

Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand
One of Waikīkī’s most recognizable gay bars, Hula’s overlooks both the world-famous Queen’s Beach in Waikiki and majestic Lēʻahi (Diamond Head) in an open-air setting. Hula’s is also a proud sponsor of the 2022 Honolulu Pride Parade!

Bacchus Waikiki
Hidden away on the quieter Lewers Street in Waikīkī, Bacchus Waikiki (for 21 and older patrons) is a small but welcoming gay bar that has a relaxed vibe and a compact menu serving bar favorites. Ranked No. 6 on Yelp’s Best 100 Gay Bars in the USA, this popular bar serves up regular Trivia and DJ nights and it’s also a sponsor of the upcoming Gay Bowl XXII Honolulu 2022.

Bar Māze
Bar Māze offers an “innovative, integrated culinary and cocktail experience.” Head Chef Ki Chung and Head Bartender Justin Park curate an omakase menu, complete with drinks and dishes blending Japanese and island flavors.

Photo Credit: Bar Māze

Hau Tree
Located in the trendy-chic Kaimana Beach Hotel, this recently reimagined restaurant serves both as a fantastic brunch and dinner spot. With a menu designed by local chef and restauranteur Chris Kajioka, Hau Tree’s open-air seating with peaceful views is adjacent to Kaimana Beach at the edge of Waikiki.

A neighborhood favorite, Fête is a Seasonal New American restaurant with local roots and a global outlook—where classic techniques meet island flavors and menu items are made with the best ingredients. The restaurant’s culinary point of view showcases the dishes using cooking methods from many cultures that all lead to simple, delicious cuisine. Recently, Chef and restaurant owner Robynne Mai‘i was named the 2022 James Beard Award winner for the “Best Chef — Northwest and Pacific” category, becoming the first woman of Native Hawaiian ancestry to win the honor.

Oahu Through a Cultural Lens

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Vacationers visiting Oahu still have time to catch a new, original exhibition in the Castle Memorial Building at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Scheduled to end on October 16, 2022, The Healer Stones of Kapaemāhū exhibition emerged from the research behind an Oscar-contending short film, Kapaemahu, that brought the unexpurgated legend to life. The Healer Stones of Kapaemāhū explores the history and contemporary meanings of four large pōhaku (stones) on Waikīkī Beach. 

Long ago, these pōhaku were placed as a tribute to four māhū, people of dual male and female spirit, who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii. Although the stones have survived for centuries, the story behind them has been suppressed and the respected role of māhū erased. Using immersive media and innovative storytelling approaches, the exhibition revitalizes this traditional story to help restore this sacred site as a permanent reminder of Hawaii’s history of inclusion and acceptance.

Iolani Palace
The Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty. It ended with Queen Liliʻuokalani under the Kalākaua Dynasty, which was founded by her brother, King David Kalākaua. 

Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve
Established in 1850, Kualoa Ranch’s vision is to be role-model stewards of its 4,000 acres: Kualoa, Hakipuʻu, and Kaʻaʻawa. Kualoa Ranch brings its vision to life with a hands-on Mālama ‘Āina (“to care for and protect the land”) experience offering guests opportunities to learn how to protect and create sustainable practices that preserve the land’s natural beauty. The eco-adventure voluntourism tour includes knowledge of the cultural importance of kalo (taro); cleaning, planting, and harvesting (kalo); and helping to care for medicinal plants (mālama laʻau lapaʻau) growing in the area.

Pōpolo Project
The Pōpolo Project is a Hawaii-based nonprofit organization that redefines what it means to be Black in Hawaii and the world by cultivating a radical reconnection to themselves, their community, their ancestors, and the land, changing what we commonly think of as local and to highlight the vivid, complex diversity of Blackness. 

Photo: Hawai’i LGBT Legacy Foundation

For more travel inspiration and information, visit https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/oahu

This article first appeared on our sister site, Vacationer.

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